Tony’s Garage - April 2014

Tony Huntimer Mar 28, 2014 0 Comment(s)
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Q. Tony,

I am in the process of building a 1992 Z28 Camaro. I am changing it over to an LS engine and am also upgrading the suspension. I plan on autocrossing it a little but can't figure out what setup would be best. I was considering going with coilovers, but then someone mentioned that the strut towers weren't designed to support the weight of the car and that there would be a lot of additional body flex and I would also be limited to a smaller tire width in the front as well. This advice seemed reasonable enough, so I started looking into other options like air ride or just a set of lowering springs. I was checking thirdgen.org and found something called “weight jacks” and wanted to know if you have ever dealt with them or what your opinion was of them. So, what is the best way to upgrade the suspension for a third-gen when it comes to autocrossing? I'm not too worried about ride quality as much as I am about the performance factor. I plan on going with an aftermarket K-member and would like some advice before I order.

Global West Suspension 2/6

Love the magazine and keep up the good work.

Zach K.
Wasilla, Alaska
Via email

A. Zach,

Thanks for the kind words. It's nice to get a good review from third-gen readers.

To start with, every third-gen Camaro (and Firebird) owner that is autocrossing should seriously consider installing a Global West Wander Bar. The front framerails are strong, but they do move around a bit due to the location of the steering box and the load transferred to it under load. Movement of the steering box creates unwanted steering changes, which creates unpredictable handling. When you're trying to be competitive, having a predictable car will only improve your times. Some production Camaros have a factory version of the Wander Bar, but Global West's version fits better and is more rigid. The Wander Bar installs easily between the body and the sway bar frame mounts.

If you don't have subframe connectors, you should seriously consider installing them as well.

The person, who advised you against coilovers because the strut towers weren't designed to hold the weight of the car, gave you some good advice. The weight of the car and its ride height is controlled by the coil springs. I assume that the weight jacks you're referring to are the Ground Control units. Weight jacks are nice if you're going to play around with the ride height and still have full adjustability for track tuning. For an everyday street car they are a little much. Keep in mind that every time you adjust them, you're changing the frontend alignment. Changing the ride height in the rear also changes the position of the rear axle from side to side, so an adjustable Panhard bar is a must-have.

Global West Traclink 3/6

The tubular front crossmember is cool if you're going drag racing and want to reduce weight. Plenty of third-gen Camaros perform great on open track and autocross courses using the factory front crossmember. If yours is working fine, you may be much better off investing your money in the rear suspension. Global West (globalwest.net) makes a killer rear suspension upgrade in the form of the Traclink, which replaces the rear torque arm. Through a change in leverage points, it increases traction in the rear during deceleration and decreases nose-dive under hard braking. This all adds up to more control of your car.


Q. Tony,

I replaced the starter along with a bunch of other parts in my 1984 Camaro, but I forgot to disconnect the battery. During the installation, there was an arc. Now my car won't start. Can you tell me what the problem could be and how to fix it? I miss driving my baby.

Thanks,
Doug
Via Facebook

A. Doug,

You inadvertently applied 12 volts to the wrong wire and probably shorted out the starter solenoid or burned out the fusible link. The best way to test the solenoid is to pull the starter off the car and test it to confirm that the gear engages and that it turns. If the solenoid works, the fusible link is probably destroyed. If so, the wire and its insulation will be melted. The starter wiring on an 1984 Camaro should go through a heat protection tube located above the starter. Fishing out this wire in the back of the engine compartment is a bear. Removing the starter helps with access. If the fusible link is scorched, replace it and everything should work so you can get back on the road.

Good luck!

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